Monday mornings might not be particularly popular but if we were allowed to go anywhere, I’d imagine Fulham fans would have a spring in their step today. The Whites are inching their way towards safety and, as Harrison Reed implied at the tail end of his post-match interview, the rest of the Premier League is beginning to take notice. Most sides might win at Anfield these days – Liverpool’s dizzying decline from the sublime heights of last season is shocking for its speed – but Scott Parker’s side did so with a combination of style and steel that suggests this might not be the last big scalp they take this term.

Fulham’s sense of adventure was evident from the off. The visitors set the tempo, clearly surprising a much-changed Liverpool outfit with the crispness of their early passing and a desire to land some early blows. Parker went with a 4-4-2, but it wasn’t designed to contain the home side, and that enterprising approach should have been swiftly rewarded. Kenny Tete is a fine deliverer from the right flank and Josh Maja, who might have had a hat-trick inside the opening half an hour, fluffed a good opportunity when he went for a volley rather than with his head. The ease with which Maja ghosted between the Liverpool centre halves hinted at a profitable afternoon, but no-one could have forecast just how much joy Fulham would have.

Ademola Lookman scampered away from Neco Williams at will and it was frustrating that the winger was unable to find the target himself or fashion an assist for Maja. The ball down the left was a constant source of problems for Liverpool, but it was surprisingly just how straightforward outwitting Jurgen Klopp was for Parker. The German had lauded his opposite number as one of the country’s brightest coaching talents in the run up to this fixture and then watched just how prophetic his words were, seemingly unable to alter the complexion of the contest until it was too late.

It was some achievement for Mario Lemina and Harrison Reed, who must be on Gareth Southgate’s radar by now, to comprehensive win the midfield battle when they were at a numerical disadvantage, but Fulham held the upper hand in the possession statistics until fifty minutes into the match. They popped the ball around with purpose, too, taking advantage of a lack of Liverpool pressing – and, although Fulham should have been in front before Lemina’s lovely mugging of Mo Salah and majestic finish, they did at least have a lead that reflected their superiority when Parker began a big half-time pep talk.

Liverpool certainly upped the intensity after the interval – but save for an athletic stop from Alphonse Areola to deny Diego Jota an equaliser of serious quality – Fulham weren’t unduly tested until late in the peace. Much of that was down to the defensive structure that Parker, Matt Wells, Nathan Gardiner and Stuart Gray had drilled into the players (it rivalled a Hodgson outfit in terms of discipline), with Lemina and Reed getting through oceans of work at the heart of the midfield. The Gabonese international was everywhere, winning all of his aerial battles, regaining possession on ten occasions and playing smart passes. Reed’s own emergence as more than just ballast in front of the back four has arguably been the story of this campaign – like Fulham, the flame-haired firefighter improves with every outing.

Liverpool’s forward line barely made an impression until their desperate search for a leveller reached panic stations. Joachim Andersen was assured at the heart of Fulham’s back four – he didn’t lose a single header and, remarkably, won every tackle – as well as pinging passes out to the left with his usual pinpoint accuracy. Just when it looked like Andy Robertson might break our hearts by setting up a simple tap-in for Sadio Mane, the Danish defender stretched out a leg to divert the cross over his own crossbar. It was a masterful piece of defending. Tosin Adarabioyo was just as composed, completing seventeen clearances, heading away countless crosses and picking his passes through the lines in the manner that he has ever since he stepped into the starting line up at Sheffield United. That combination appears almost impregnable at the moment – the nine clean sheets could prove so pivotal come May. A word too on Ola Aina, whose consistency in any one of three defensive positions, is a joy to behold.

Much of the media’s focus will be on Liverpool’s alarming dip in form, but carving out these sorts of wins shows just how far Fulham have come. They created chances galore in the first half – there is still plenty of work to be done on the finishing in the days ahead – and didn’t cave in, despite Kevin Friend unfathomably adding two more minutes of stoppage time to send our heart rates soaring further. This wasn’t a backs-to-the-wall effort by a plucky no-hoper – Fulham thoroughly deserved all three points. Parker is already imploring his side to not rest on their laurels with Manchester City coming to the Cottage next Saturday night, but about the only thing you can predict with any certainty in this strange season is his team will never do that.